The NBA has returned to a 2-2-1-1-1 format for the Finals. We apologize in advance for the bags under Jeff Van Gundy’s eyes.
— Kelly Dwyer (@KDonhoops) October 23, 2013
NBA Owners unanimously voted in favor of changing the Finals from the 2-3-2 format to a more profitable 2-2-1-1-1 schedule, the same format used throughout the Eastern and Western Conference playoff series. This format is also used in the National Hockey League.
In 1985 the league implemented the 2-3-2 format because of the distance between Boston and Los Angeles, the Celtics and the Lakers met eight times prior to the change and the traveling became exhausting to both organizations.
Theoretically having a game-six as a home game for teams on-the-ropes of elimination means more exhilarating winner-take-all final games. In the past, the team with the advantage only needed one victory during three road games to secure the advantage of playing game six and seven under their friendly confines.
Who can forget last season? The San Antonio Spurs lost two straight in Miami to the eventual champion Heat, collapsing in the final minutes of game six and seven and dropping the series despite leaving San Antonio with a 3-2 series lead.
Since ’85 nine Champions have been crowed after the six games and only four Finals have reached a game seven. Changing from a 2-3-2 to a 2-2-1-1-1 format levels the playing field for the conference champions but more importantly gives viewers and fans a chance to see more exciting all-or-nothing games between the best teams in the NBA.